The 10 Richest Athletes And The Surprising Ways They Made Money


Athletes are among the richest category of celebrities. Their amazing ability to entertain us not only leads them to have some of the highest salaries in the world, but it also leads to multi-million dollar endorsement deals. On top of that, many athletes have become stellar business men to only grow their fortunes after they retire. Here are the 10 wealthiest athletes on the planet and their net-worth.

Michael Jordan ($1 Billion)

Known as the greatest basketball player of all time, MJ earned just under $100 million dollars ($93.7M) over the course of his playing career. But much of his fortune has come from endorsements. He earns approximately $60 million a year from Mike endorsement and royalties and his 89% stake in the Charlotte Bobcats is worth about $415 million.

Michael Schumacher ($800 Million)

Widely considered the most successful Formula One racecar driver of all time, Schumacher is the second wealthiest athlete on the planet. He can earn upwards of $50 million a year in endorsements alone.

Arnold Palmer ($675 Million)

Arnold Palmer is know as one of the greatest golfers of all-time. Palmer has made a good portion of his net-worth through golf (he has 62 career wins), but a large portion of his net-worth comes from the Arnold Palmer line of ice tea by Arizona. The line is a $200 million business and represents 25% of sales for Arizona Beverages.

Roger Staubach ($600 Million)

This NFL Hall Of Fame member and former Heisman Trophy winner mad e a lot of money playing football. But he made a whole lot more in real estate. By 2008 his real estate firm, Staubach Co, had over 1000 employees worldwide and sold to Jones Lang Lassalle for a reported $640 million.

Tiger Woods ($550 Million)

Woods edges out the top five richest athletes with lots of growth room ahead of him. Although he faced some setbacks with his endorsements after his notorious affair, he still brings in an annual salary of over $100 million a year between is golf winnings and endorsement deals.

Magic Johnson ($500 Million)

This master of the no-look pass is recognized as one of the greatest basketball players of all time. But he’s made most of his riches as an entrepreneur. Magic has created a series of movie theaters and has owned percentages of major sports teams (Lakes, Dodgers) and Magic Johnson Enterprises is valued around $1 billion.

David Beckham ($350 Million)

This rich athlete started playing professional soccer at age 17. Since then he has amassed millions of dollars in salary and endorsements. In addition to his endorsement deals with companies like Pepsi and Adidas, he has also struck modeling deals with companies like Calvin Klein.

Shaquille O’Neal ($350 Million)

Most of Shaq’s wealth was accumulated throughout his NBA career. He earned over $290 million from his NBA salary between 1992 and 2011. Shaw has also made money through endorsements and is now and NBA commentator as well.

Dale Earnheardt Jr. ($300 Million)

DEJ is one of the most recognized NASCAR drivers on the planet. His dad (Dale Earnhardt Senior) is a racing legend. Of his estimated $26 million a year salary, about $22 million is from endorsements.

Alex Rodriguez. ($300 Million)

Although A-rod has faced a lot of legal trouble as of late, he is still one of the top-10 richest athletes on the planet. His annual salary is about $33 million. His $252 million deal over 10 years with the Rangers was the largest MLB deal of all time.

Other Rich Athletes

Roger Federer ($300m), Greg Norman ($300m), Floyd Mayweather ($295m), Jack Nicklaus ($280m), LeBron James ($270m), Kobe Bryant ($260m), Cristiano Ronaldo($250m), George Foreman ($250m)